The optical scanners that will be used to count Pima County votes in November’s general election were bought in the 1990s, when the technology was already old. “It’s like flying around in an old DC-7,” said Charles Geoffrion, chairman of the county’s Election Integrity Commission. He was referring to a 1950-60s’ era propeller airplane. The machines are being disassembled, cleaned and tested. Worn-out parts are being replaced with parts the county acquired by tracing the scanner supply chain. The original manufacturer no longer supplies them. Pima County Elections Department Director Brad Nelson hopes to buy new equipment next year, but he anticipates that the current scanners will be adequate for this election.
The reduction in polling places – to 288, down about one-third from the general election two years ago – has helped as broken machines are phased out. There will be one scanner and one touch-screen voting machine at each polling place and seven or eight scanners at the central counting location, Nelson said. About six scanners have been borrowed from rural Arizona counties that won’t need them this election cycle. The machines are tested for “logic and accuracy” before and after the count. Elections officials test them; the Arizona Office of Secretary of State tests them, and political party representatives do their own tests. Still, despite the preparations, the machines sometimes break. “Every time we have an election, we have a computer that fails,” Geoffrion said.
Full Article: Pima County readies its aged counting devices for election.